One common myth regarding the free movement of EU citizens in Europe, is that EU nationals have total free movement to work in Switzerland. But in a very tight national vote in 2014, the Swiss electorate voted to curb immigration, thus putting the country at odds with the EU. But the question remained as to how this could be implemented without affecting Switzerland’s rights in the EU, while still administering the people’s vote.


One of the elements introduced to address this was an obligation for all employers to advertise certain positions to the open market first before looking to engage EU nationals. To note:

  • The positions with this requirement are determined by the level of unemployment in the country and specifically by each separate economic branch
  • The positions must be advertised with the Swiss unemployment office.
  • Although the advertised positions can be viewed nationally as well as internationally, the roles in these designated branches of industry, can only be seen by those unemployed in Switzerland for one week before they are opened up for all applicants.
  • The unemployment offices are allowed to provide suitable candidates during this window and beyond for the roles that are advertised with them.


One important argument for this position is that employers were approaching international markets first without consulting the domestic pool of available candidates and thereby engaging foreigners when skilled local unemployed workers are available.


The system introduced by the Swiss authorities first looks at the level of unemployment in each industry and then decides if there should be an obligation for the employer to advertise with the unemployment office.  Initially the system was introduced with a fairly high percentage requiring this obligation, making it necessary to advertise in all areas with above 8% unemployment.  Later as unemployment figures were reduced, this was revised down to 5%.  Today this figure is still applicable and the department of trade and industry issues a new list of jobs each year based on last year’s unemployment movements.


Types of Roles Applicable

Typical roles on the list of positions to be advertised locally first are those in unstable or seasonal industries, such as acting and construction.  During the Covid pandemic the list of applicable roles grew to have lesser expected roles such as marketing and sales positions – all of which were heavily affected including at the time as well as more immediately obvious ones such as from hospitality and event planning.


Since the end of the Pandemic, unemployment has come down and those affected in these industries have found their way back to employment.  At the end of 2023 support staff in offices, hotels and gastronomy, as well as chef assistants were finally removed from the list requiring advertising.


2024 Requirements 

The list for 2024 where employers are still required to advertise with the unemployment office and cannot therefore simply immediately engage who they want, is now looking more like one would naturally expect to see and does not include any new additions from 2023.  Hotel receptionists are still there along with more seasonal jobs in gardening, fruit/vegetables and construction as well as the acting profession.  Event planners are also on the list and are maybe taking a little longer to recover post Covid.


Swissroll GmbH was founded over 20 years ago. During this time our team of experts has worked with hundreds of companies and literally thousands of contractors. Also cross border workers. Beyond our core function of payroll management, we offer advice to workers about which engagement model best suits theirs, and the clients needs. This includes giving advice in French, German and English and on social security and tax as well as which roles may need to be advertised locally first. Call or contact us now on: